Fibre Bragg grating sensors for distributive tactile sensing

Barbara M. Cowie*, David J. Webb, Betty Tam, Paul Slack, Peter N. Brett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Distributive tactile sensing is a method of tactile sensing in which a small number of sensors monitors the behaviour of a flexible substrate which is in contact with the object being sensed. This paper describes the first use of fibre Bragg grating sensors in such a system. Two systems are presented: the first is a one-dimensional metal strip with an array of four sensors, which is capable of detecting the magnitude and position of a contacting load. This system is favourably compared experimentally with a similar system using resistive strain gauges. The second system is a two-dimensional steel plate with nine sensors which is able to distinguish the position and shape of a contacting load, or the positions of two loads simultaneously. This system is compared with a similar system using 16 infrared displacement sensors. Each system uses neural networks to process the sensor data to give information concerning the type of contact. Issues and limitations of the systems are discussed, along with proposed solutions to some of the difficulties. © 2007 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Article number017
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • fibre Bragg grating
  • neural network
  • optical sensor
  • tactile


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